A nice column by Alan Guebert in today’s Lincoln Journal Star.
Farm and Food: A distinguished fellow
In the big, slow move from the big, painted house in town this past summer my worn copy of Aldo Leopoldâ€™s A Sand County Almanac went missing.
Truth be told, the lovely little book of simple, powerful essays explaining mankindâ€™s deep connections to the land never made the move with Emerson, Thoreau, McPhee and the rest of my literary family.
The most likely explanation of its disappearance is that I lent it out years ago and, unlike the waterfowl, songbirds or wildflowers Leopold wrote so powerfully and poetically about on his Wisconsin farm, the book that pioneered â€œthe land ethicâ€ never returned.
I know thatâ€™s what happened to some of my other great possessionsâ€”a drywall T-square, an expensive gear-puller, my pruning saw. The last time I looked they were there to be employed and enjoyed; the next time I looked they were sadly, madly, gone.
I hope thatâ€™s not the case with Fred Kirschenmann who, until Oct. 28, was the director of the Leopold Center, Iowa State Universityâ€™s globally-recognized research and education center for sustainable agriculture.
Officially, Kirschenmann was promoted from his administrative post, a position he held since 2000, to â€œa new leadership role as a distinguished fellow of the centerâ€ where, according to the ISU press release, he â€œwill devote his time to national sustainable agriculture priorities affecting broad segments of U.S. agriculture.â€
Unofficially, say many of his peers, he was shuffled off to the academic gulag by powerful farm and commodity groups in Iowa who worried the Kirschenmann-led Centerâ€™s authoritative research and growing reputation undermined their agribiz-or-bust approach to farming.
The way the Kirschenmann coup occurred, they suggest, confirms it.
The rest is worth a read.